It’s Halloween and we have been doing the usual related activities. Many discussions have been had about how much candy will be consumed, and by whom “Baby’s not allowed to eat any, is he?” says Four, anxiously, before she asks who will get to eat his share (me, of course!).
We have been cutting out paper shapes of bats and witches and spent happy afternoons pulling sheets out of the linen cupboard, putting them over our heads and going “Woooooohhh!” in time-honoured tradition. I balked at cutting out holes for eyes as I have absolutely no intention of sewing them back up, and besides, it’s funny to watch them bumping into furniture.
We have also visited our local pumpkin patch a few times in order to buy overpriced winter squash and get hay in our hair and shoes. As an added attraction they have some rather mangy farmyard animals to look at – a couple of stolid goats, a permanently sleeping pig, a resigned donkey and three excitable and unhappy turkeys in a cage who clearly know what is going to happen to them in a few weeks’ time. There is a scarecrow high on a crucifix (very odd imagery) who speaks and plays ‘Scarecrow Says’. This last is a huge hit with small children and they never seem to notice that the game is the same every time and he doesn’t actually listen to anything that they say to him, but come to think of it, most preschoolers’ lives aren’t so very different from that.
Last time we went it was a weekday morning and we foolishly thought that it would be quiet, but we were very wrong – all of the local schools were having field trips and the groups of children were being shouted at and organised by a very efficient and not very friendly lady from the pumpkin patch. She was a type I recognised from my own school days – we’ve all had them, I suppose. She was the kind who basically suspects you have done something wrong, even before she has met you, and is merely waiting for an opportunity to upbraid and won’t be satisfied until she can unload her wrath. She is also related, as so many of her ilk are, to the Wicked Witch of the West and bore an uncanny resemblance despite her blond highlights and attempts to look normal.
We slipped gratefully past the cowed school children and wandered around looking at pumpkins. One helpfully rearranged a basket of Indian corn and Four gave him a fearful lecture (I hope she won’t turn into one of those witchy ladies) before putting them back in a way that was not discernably different from his display.
Then we noticed a man collecting vegetables from a small fenced garden and Four ran over with delight – she is very keen on gardening and plants in general and she wanted to watch and ask him about his crop. While we were doing this, One got slightly bored and wandered perhaps ten feet away towards the perimeter fence. I had half an eye on him, as I do at all times, and was vaguely aware that he was picking up a hosepipe, but was unprepared for the spray nozzle to fall off completely and water to come gushing out the end and start saturating the ground. I ran over to see what had happened, if he was soaked ( he wasn’t) and how I could rectify the situation. I saw that the nozzle had been crudely jammed into the end of a roughly cut hose, not properly secured, and that the hose had obviously not been turned off at the faucet (naughty!). I looked around for someone to tell – the ground was getting muddy very quickly and this was not going to be good for a place that was full of little kids, not to mention the terrible waste of water.
To my immense regret the only person I could see who was employed by the pumpkin patch was the witch. Misgivings notwithstanding, I walked over and reported in a genial manner that water was leaking all over the ground and she might want to turn the hose off.
Rather than running off to deal with the problem, she turned on me, practically spitting venom, and accused my 22lb, one year old baby of a deliberate act of vandalism and suggested I put him on a leash.
This is a woman who is employed to deal with children.
At a childrens’ attraction.
I countered this by pointing out that her hosepipe nozzle was not secured properly, the hose should not have been out in the middle of the patch if they were worried about children touching it as this place was teaming with small kids every single day, and furthermore it was poor water conservation practice to leave a hosepipe on when not in use.
She raised her voice and told me that I needed to control my offspring better, what kind of a mother was I?
That REALLY PISSED ME OFF.
So I responded that (and in hindsight I’m not entirely proud of this) I was the kind of mother who thought that she was clearly not fit to be working with children, and on the matter of leashes I thought that perhaps she should have one because she was a bloody bitch.
Then I took my children home.
On the way back, Four asked me “What’s a bloody bitch?”
I said, truthfully, that it was a girl dog that had a boo-boo.
“But why did you call her that?”
This was a difficult question. Should I just lie?
On balance, I thought it best.
“Well, darling, I think that’s what she was going to be for Halloween”
She was quiet for a bit, and then she said
“Are you going to be a bloody bitch for Halloween too?”
Well clearly yes. But I want to point out that it’s such a great costume idea that I think I’ll keep it to pull out for relevant occasions throughout the rest of the year too. If you want to borrow it, please contact me.